Demand remains high

Bird hunting persists in Basra despite declining populations and ban

BASRA — Bird hunting remains a practice in the marshes of North Basra despite a decline in bird populations due to reduced water levels and areas drying up. Hunters say the catch migratory birds from East Asia and South America, while authorities continue efforts to curb the practice.

Officials have issued warnings and conducted raids to prevent bird hunting and the sale of captured birds, sometimes releasing them back into the wild.

According to Waith Al-Battat, a hunter interviewed by 964media, the hunting season typically runs from November through March of each year. Hunters prefer areas like the Ghatr and Umm Al-Sibah marshes, as well as inter-provincial wetlands like Hor Zgairy, Hoorie Griesha and Al-Ghibeishia.

Hunting groups typically camp overnight in the marshes, using hunting rifles and basic supplies. They also favor Turkish rifles due to their affordability and readily available ammunition.

“These birds come from various locations, including China, Uzbekistan, and even Argentina,” Al-Battat said, adding that hunters are able to identify the birds’ origins thanks to rings attatched to their legs.

Hunting methods include “Al-Nosha,” where hunters use camouflage made from palm fronds or grass, as well as modern decoys like plastic ducks and devices mimicking bird calls.

Targeted species include the Mallard, Eurasian Teal Bird, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Hornbill, and Cormorant among others.

While bird hunting has decreased in recent years due to environmental factors, demand from a dedicated clientele interested in consuming game meat persists, despite its higher price compared to other options in the market.

Trio apprehended for alleged illegal bird hunting

Trio apprehended for alleged illegal bird hunting